It’s been a long time since I screamed in the shower. It is an empty and helpless feeling. There is no solace to be found in beating angry fists against soapy walls. It’s not like the release of roaring into the heavens, with the kiss of nature all around and God so evidently listening. It mostly just feels alone.
I am so angry. From where my mind races and quarrels with itself down to the very end of my toes, I am touched with body numbing anger. I keep coming to write, to empty myself, to make good on my promise of carrying this site along with me on this journey from the very mouth of hell to redemption, but each time I stare blankly, suddenly silenced.
There’s an entire world left to judge me, to weigh me in the balance and find me wanting, and if this is what it feels like when it’s just a select few, how crippling will the rest of the world be? Truth be told, it can’t be much worse than the feeling of what translates to heart as the abandonment of a stumbling church and the absolute reminder that only God carries with Him unconditional love. What can be worse than finding myself caught in this hamster wheel of forever trying to live up to the expectations of flesh and blood, and forever falling short? What is more terrifying than the face of a church disappointed? It’s like disappointing your mother, only she believes she has the power to send you to hell.
The director of the Walter Hoving Home told me in a conversation something that I’ll never forget. “Seana”, she said, “people are going to follow you. Whether you lead them to Heaven or lead them to Hell is up to you, but they are going to follow you.” It might sound like arrogance to share that here, but trust me when I tell you, more terrifying words have never been spoken to me.
Only a few months ago, I had a conversation with my roommate that proved to be more self-fulfilling prophesy than conjecture. In short, we talked about the difficulties I was having and how I felt like my Christian walk was esteemed in our church beyond it’s value. I was beginning to feel like the local church equivalent of a ‘celebrity’ like there was no room for questions, doubt and, most of all, failure. I expressed to her my discomfort with the level of attention I was receiving from the members of our church (and more specifically the congregants of the house of prayer) and the way in which that attention was bestowed.
I told her very specifically that the expressions of love week after week were particularly discomforting, that they didn’t feel authentic. “I guarantee you”, I said, “if I were to suddenly fall from grace, if I were to fall into sin, these people that surround me every week and tell me how much they love me would be gone.” What I was receiving wasn’t love, it was adulation and it made me more and more uncomfortable as time went on.
In hindsight, I have a bad habit of testing the limits of human love.
I am ending this post here and, if it seems as though there is little resolution from beginning to end, it is because of this: my intention in writing this was to release the bitterness of today’s hurt and the torrent of resentment at the misguided methods in my church that are currently wreaking havoc for me personally. But I find as I write that I simply cannot continue in that vein. The church is the bride of Christ, flawed and human though she may be. I cannot demean her, her leadership or her flaws in a forum as public as this one from an angle as one-sided as my own. As I have written, God has done His own healing work and the anger I began in has paved way for revelation, understanding and compassion. We’re all just trying to find God and none of us are particularly good at reading the map.
Perhaps screaming in the shower does a little good after all.